Over 2,000 runners hit the pavement for Jacksonville’s oldest marathon

Thousands of runners sprinted through the streets of San Jose and Mandarin Sunday for the annual Ameris Bank Jacksonville Marathon — the city’s oldest long-distance foot race.

December 10 marked year number 40 for the marathon, which had the biggest turnout since the pandemic started with over 2,400 runners.

Race director Doug Alred has been a part of it since day one and is proud of its longevity.

“I think it’s that small-town feel marathon. Everybody is so friendly to them, and it is very personal,” Alred said.

The event also drew participation from first-time runners eager to hit the pavement.

Atsede Tesema was the half-marathon winner on the women’s side after taking a year off from running because of a leg injury.

Tesema has won the Boston Marathon once… the Chicago Marathon twice… and the Paris Marathon twice.

“I am so happy. The course is good. The weather was good. My plan was under one hour and 10 minutes,” Tesema said.

Jack Mastendrea was the top winner of the half marathon, competing for the first time here from North Carolina.

“It was just to go out there, work with my team and take it one mile at a time. Just give it all I got,” Mastendrea said.

Runners like Egbert Johnson made the marathon his mission.

“It makes it easier honestly. It makes it more personal and it makes it easier whenever you are running with companions and friends. The pressure of the race goes away,” Johnson said, who participated with his running group.

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